Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, off whose coast this tragedy is centered, is singing a new song, starkly at odds with what he said last year in a speech before the Republican faithful. Now he's begging for federal "interference." He wants federal money, federal supplies, wants the feds to help create barrier islands to protect Louisiana wetlands from oil. Not to pick on Jindal. He is but one prominent voice in a chorus of Gulf state officials who once preached the virtues of tiny government but have discovered, in the wake of this spreading disaster, the virtues of government that is robust enough, at a minimum, to help them out of a jam.
One hears accusations that the government was lax in its oversight duties and too cozy with the oil industry it was supposed to be regulating. One hears nothing about deregulation, about leaving the free market alone to do its magic.
You know what they say: It's all fun and games till somebody gets hurt .... people like Jindal rail against the very concept of government itself, selling the delusional notion that taxation and regulation represent the evisceration of some essential American principle. They wax eloquent about what great things the free market and the free American could do if government would just get off their backs.
One thinks of one's meat oozing with salmonella, one's paint filled with lead, one's car getting 12 miles to the gallon, one's self being breezily denied a job for reasons of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation and, yes, one's ocean covered from horizon to horizon with a sheen of oil. You see, government is not our enemy.
Government is the imperfect embodiment of our common will. As there are no atheists in foxholes, it turns out there are no small-government disciples in massive oil spills. No, with BP oil soaking the sands of his coastline, Bobby Jindal turned righteously to that big, sometimes bloated, often intrusive federal government, and asked for help. He said: Send money, send resources.
You will notice he never once said: Send less.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Republicans Jump on the Big Government Bandwagon without Blinking.
Why aren't Republicans held to the same standard as everyone else? Why do we let them say anything they want and not hold them accountable later on when they do just the opposite. Seriously, they get a pass. We have Michele Bachmann, a tea party favorite, bashing government while at the same time demanding government commandeer ships and take over BP because of the oil spill. Then there's Bobby Jindal. Here's Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts: